TA News

TA Wins Big at VT/NH VEX Robotics Championship, Earns Spots at Worlds

Guest post from TA robotics coach Leif LaWhite

The NH/VT 2024 VEX robotics state championship tournament is in the books. And once again, tiny TA wrote the book.  The meet was held at Manchester Community College, an hour an a half from TA, so it was another 6:30 a.m. departure for our roboteurs and their family fan club. There were 40 robots representing 12 schools (some 10 times our size) competing.  

The event began with a series of eighty 2-minute qualifying matches where robots were randomly chosen to ally-with and go-against others in the main 2V2 event. Our own 4886S (Aden Perry, Connor Kutter-Walker and Duncan MacPhee) had been dominant in our league all season – and it was no surprise that they ended the 80 qualification matches in 1st place. 

As 1st seed, they chose a partner from the Spark Academy for the elimination rounds. TA’s 4886Y (Rowan Moody-A’ness, Tristan Woodward, Aiden Ouelette, and Lucca Huling) were the 9th-seed and they chose to ally with our 4886W (Kai Slayton, Jesse Martin, and Tanner Hardy). 

Sadly, our middle school team, 4886X (Jay Hill, Stone Riegler, Meredith Sloop, and Connor Abraham) had had a rough go of it. Despite giving it their all, with heroic last-minute code changes from Meredith and Connor, they ended up low in the rankings and were not selected for the elimination series.  

The crowd took note when 9th-seeded Y and W beat the 8th-seeded alliance 113 to 44 in the Round-of-16; minor upsets happen, but that was a shellacking.  The crowd really took note when Y and W then went on to knock off the 1st-seed (our S and Spark) 93 to 85 in the quarter final; that’s not supposed to happen.  Continuing their run, Y and W went on to beat the 5th seed (from Pembroke and Pinkerton academies) 124 to 92. 

Final matches are best of three, and our 9-seeded Y and W alliance was now up against the 3rd-seed, of two robots from Pembroke Academy.  In the first heat we dominated, 144 to 88.  We gave away the second heat on a technical foul; it all came down to the 3rd heat.  At the end of the match it looked close to us spectators so there was tension in the air while the score keepers made their tally. But in the end the TA alliance was declared winner, 139 to 109.  

In recap we note that this was not a fluke victory: the 9th seed beat the 8th, 1st, 5th, and 3rd seeds in consecutive matches; they clawed their way from the middle of the pack to NH/VT Champions with determination, teamwork, and perseverance. My coach’s hat is off to this group of five 9th and two 8th-graders – who bested all other high school comers from VT and NH.  

Of course in doing so, they also earned themselves two spots in the World championship tournament, in Dallas TX in April. And remember our team S who lost in the quarterfinal? They won the separate 1V-clock Robot Skills competition overwhelmingly. Then they also brought home the coveted Excellence award for their spectacularly good robot, well-documented design process, and overall season accomplishment. Either one of those awards earned them a spot at Worlds. 

The NH/VT league of the VEX Robotics Competition sends five high-school and one middle-school robots to the World Championship; yesterday in Manchester NH, tiny TA earned three of those six spots.  



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